On the Packers calendar today, kicker Mason Crosby is making an appearance at Copp’s grocery store from 5 to 7 p.m. in Appleton. It’s also opening night for “Torn,” a play starring Packers Hall of Fame running back Dorsey Levens at the 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta. And yeah, the Packers are releasing their annual financial report today …
Cornerback Charles Woodson is being dubbed “a hero” as we reported last evening. Woodson informed his business associate of a fire at the home they were staying at in Bay Harbor, Mich. this past Saturday. “I kind of just laid down, and Charles and I were just kind of hanging out there chatting about trying to figure out where that smell was coming from,” said Rick Ruiz, Woodson’s business partner. “It wasn’t heavy at all in the beginning. It was just very light. I dozed off for a minute and Charles woke me up saying, ‘We gotta go. There’s a fire here.’” Woodson will be attending a TwentyFour wine event this evening at the Riverbend Club in Kohler, Wis.
Third-round draft choice Morgan Burnett may sign a contract as early as this weekend reports Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Burnett is close to agreeing to terms, his agent said Tuesday,” writes Copeland. “The two parties are in the final stages of settling on a signing bonus and the structure of the contract.” If and when Burnett signs, he would be the fifth of seven total draft choices to agree to terms with the Packers. That would leave only Bryan Bulaga and Mike Neal left to sign with a little over two weeks left until training camp begins.
Every player on the Packers roster is broken down and ranked in a multi-part series by Bill Huber of Packer Report. The highest rated player on the most recent list is defensive lineman Justin Harrell at No. 61. “In three seasons, the first-round bust has played in 13 of a possible 48 regular-season games,” writes Huber. “He hasn’t started since the NFC playoff game against Seattle on Jan. 12, 2008. He didn’t play at all last season. So, let’s say that Harrell’s bad back is miraculously feeling good and he’s in fine form after playing in four preseason games. Then what? Do the Packers dare risk a roster spot — and, as a byproduct, lose a player they might like — for someone whose back could act up in Week 2 or Week 4 or Week 6? The one thing in Harrell’s favor is his contract. His base salary is merely $650,000, according to salary data provided by a league source.” Coming in at No. 61, Harrell figures to be on the outside looking in as the Packers keep only 53 players on the regular season roster.
Linebacker Desmond Bishop has been interacting with fans on Twitter. Chris Lempesis of the Packers blog Ol’ Bag of Donuts tells the humorous story. “Over the past couple of days, a flurry of pro-Desmond Bishop activity has taken place on Twitter,” writes Lempesis. “Most of the Tweets have been spin-offs of Chuck Norris facts and jokes. It was cute and somewhat entertaining.”
Defending Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson is ranked as the third-best cornerback in the entire NFL by Rod Woodson of the NFL Network, and himself a former All-Pro corner. He’s listed behind the Jets’ Darrelle Revis and the Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha. Watch the video on NFL.com. It’s a tough call. They’re all good. But is it fair for Woodson to be ranked behind Asomugha, and even Revis, after the year he had?
The Packers are ranked slightly ahead of the Minnesota Vikings by the odds makers at Betus.com according to Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette. “The online site says the Vikings will be hurt by the loss of Chester Taylor, plus their offensive line was exposed in the playoffs last year and those concerns ‘weren’t really dealt with in the off season,’” writes Vandermause.
An interesting and statistically-based way to look at kickers doesn’t bode well for Mason Crsoby. Citing Football Outsiders, Packer Chatters and Associated Press writer Adam Czech writes, “Crosby also has declined on kickoffs each of his three seasons in the NFL according to Football Outsiders metrics. Crosby was a -8.3 in estimated point value of field position in 2009, bad enough for 30th in the NFL. Crosby posted a 7.1 in 2007 and declined to a -1.1 in 2008. Crosby’s field goal numbers are just as ugly according to the Outsiders. He was worth 1.1 points above a league-average kicker in 2007, -1.1 below a league-average kicker in 2008 and -6.1 in 2009.” For a guy who a lot of people claim has a very strong leg, Crosby sure doesn’t put it to use on kickoffs. Either that or his leg strength is exaggerated, which I’m becoming more and more likely to believe. Coaching decisions, such as kicking to a particular section of the field factor into how far Crosby will kick the ball. But statistics don’t lie, especially over the course of an entire season.
The Packers were lucky they didn’t sign Lavar Arrington says Monty McMahon of Total Packers. Piggybacking on a column from Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, McMahon is glad the Packers didn’t land Arrington the same year they courted Charles Woodson in free agency. “The Packers got lucky twice in 2006,” writes McMahon. “They landed Woodson because the rest of the league didn’t see any value and Arrington, whose injury history was no fluke, signed with the Giants.”
The kick return situation is broken down by Bill Huber at Packer Report. “If Will Blackmon can’t overcome a torn ACL, who will return punts and kickoffs for the Packers this season?” asks Huber (subscription required). “There’s nothing but question marks, from Jordy Nelson to Tramon Williams to three talented rookies.” I personally am discouraged about the prospects of the return game this season. I don’t see significant production coming from any player currently on the roster.
A dream team from the Holmgren-era onwards in Green Bay is created by Michael Davidsen of Green Bay Packer Nation, and he lists Aaron Rodgers ahead of Brett Favre as the team’s quarterback. “Rodgers may not be in his prime yet, but his approach to the game and style of play over the past two seasons is the kind I’d want in a quarterback if it were my team,” writes Davidsen. “Favre certainly had his own dose of greatness while in his prime – but it was of the unpredictable variety. Rings play no factor in this decision since I am choosing the quarterback that I’d feel more comfortable with actually leading this dream team. Rodgers is an accurate, pocket passer that rarely makes bad throws.”
Not to be outdone, John Rehor lists the top five reasons to watch a game in Green Bay.